Last Night: Jonsi at Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie

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Verizon Theatre, Grand Prairie
October 25, 2010

Better than: The last show I saw at Verizon Theatre--Brian Wilson. I don't even think his keyboard was plugged in.

Jonsi's performance on Monday night at Verizon Theatre was like watching a man go free.

No longer held up by the trappings of Sigur Ros, his show was his own, and he seemed joyful and engaged in the moment.

There was never a point in the night when Jonsi didn't hold the crowd in the palm of his hand.

From the opening pulls of his acoustic guitar on "Stars In Still Water" to the final rumble of "Grow Till Tall," the audience was captivated and silent. A single plastic cup on the floor that was accidentally kicked was loud enough to disrupt several different moments of serenity for the 1,000 or so who found themselves in Grand Prairie. Chalk the quiet crowd up to the fact that the venue wasn't even at one-fourth its capacity. 

Those in attendance, though, knew what to expect. After years of seeing him front Sigur Ros, they knew that silence during the songs is the most respectful way to respond. But this concert showed a brand new side of his artistry and showmanship. For one, Jonsi wasn't afraid to engage the audience straight on. In fact, he even walked around the stage like a proper frontman--a far cry from his onstage demeanor with Sigur Ros. 

The visual effects displayed on the huge screen behind the stage moved in tandem with the band's performance, which covered a range of emotions from melancholy to triumphant. An illustrated window with rain pouring down outside painted a fitting visual to go with "Around Us." On "Saint Naive," a sketched wolf chased a dear through a wooded scene, and when the two finally collided, the sketches exploded and melted off the screen. The more joyful songs, like the brilliant single "Go Do," featured frantically played stomp rhythms on the drums that inspired dancing in the aisles from some concert goers.

The final song of the night, "Grow Till Tall," was the show's highpoint. It started almost like a lullaby, or even a prayer. Jonsi sang the lyrics "Grow and grow till tall / They all, in the end, will fall," as a flower on the screen began to bloom in the middle of a forest. The drummer joined in lightly with a marching rhythm as the song began to build. On screen, a wind started to blow. And as the musical build continued and all of the instruments came in, the wind picked up and began to blow objects across the darkening screen. Eventually, it started ripping everything out of the ground, including the flowers and all of the trees. As the song reached it's release, the drums pounded one last time and the bass rumbled a dark, looming note.

The band, finished, got up and left the stage, only to come out for a final bow.

Critic's notebook
Personal Bias: I wasn't sure what to expect after seeing the trailer for this tour. I thought that it would be more theatrical, but it turned out to be like seeing a happier version of Sigur Ros with stunning visual accompaniment.

Random Note: $15 to park at Verizon Theatre? Pretty ridiculous. In Deep Ellum, you can grab a meter, see a band, and have a beer for that much. 

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